How can a small business best prepare for a busy summer season?
To help you best prepare your small business for the busy summer season, we asked business owners and CEOs this question for their best advice. From hiring temporary hands like college students to engaging your customers online, there are several steps small businesses may take in preparation for brisk business in busy summers.
Here are 11 tips to prepare small businesses for a busy summer:
- Hire Temporary Hands Like College Students
- Adopt CRM Technology
- Evaluate Staffing Needs
- Offer Seasonal Summer Promotions
- Stay On Top of Bookkeeping
- Refresh Your Website and Update GMB Listing
- Organize a Social Media Photo Contest
- Automate and Delegate as a Preemptive Measure
- Learn From The Previous Summer
- Leverage Employee Referrals for Quick Talent Recruiting
- Engage Your Customers Online
Hire Temporary Hands Like College Students
Look into hiring temporary summer hires to prepare for the busy summer season. College students are a great resource to tap into, as they are often looking to work seasonally during the summer. They get real-life work experience for a few months, and you don’t have to worry about letting employees go when the season slows down in the fall. It is a win-win for everyone.
Tyler Read, Personal Trainer Pioneer
Adopt CRM Technology
Adopting a robust customer relationship management (CRM) platform (like Salesforce) helps ensure your new leads and customers don’t get lost in the mix. This type of software is designed to simplify the marketing process while empowering you to personalize your strategy for each customer.
Rachel Blank, Allara
Evaluate Your Staffing Needs
Summer is a time when employees tend to request time off for vacation or other summer activities. As such, you can expect periods of time where you are short-staffed. It’s important to take this into account and take precautionary steps to combat this. Sometimes managers will onboard seasonal employees to cover those who will be missing for a good chunk of the summer. Managers may also ask that employees put in their PTO requests ahead of time so they have time to plan accordingly. By getting a head start on seasonal scheduling, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress from summer season planning and may even be able to give yourself a break as well.
Gregg Dean, Layla Sleep
Offer Seasonal Summer Promotions
One way a small business can prepare for a busy summer is by offering seasonal promotions. Summer is known for sales and adding a promotional element can greatly boost business. For example, a customer referral program that gives shoppers points for referring a friend can benefit everyone. The business gets customers, customers get the points to spend, and friends become new customers with the same incentive.
Phillip Akhzar, Arka
Stay On Top of Bookkeeping
I work with many small businesses and one thing that tends to slip during busier months is accurate bookkeeping. I know, it’s boring, unglamorous, and feels like something you can “catch up on later”, but in reality staying on top of your books in real-time will give you the most accurate financial picture. When bookkeeping is delayed there are always details that slip through the cracks. It could be a small forgotten receipt or something as big as a forgotten invoice for a vendor. Keeping up on a weekly basis at the very least will help you make projections for next summer week by week, allowing you to better prepare and provide you with more accurate data for projections in general.
Gates Little, altLINE Sobanco
Refresh Your Website and Update GMB Listing
Prepare your website to handle the extra traffic load of the busy season, upgrading your hosting plan to accommodate them and overhauling your site map and content. Refresh outdated content, fix broken links, and ensure all contact and service information is 100% up-to-date. Make sure your contact forms are all functional – it becomes pretty hard to convert customers without them.
Update your Google My Business listing, one of the most utilized tools for consumers to find local businesses in their area. Even if you own a brick-and-mortar store you need to ensure your site looks professional to capitalize on the increased interest and draw as many customers your way as possible. Announce any updates to your social media profiles, too, so consumers aren’t left wondering if the hours of operation and COVID-19 protocols listed are still accurate.
Scott Lieberman, Touchdown Money
Organize a Social Media Photo Contest
As it is summer, people will be more inclined to stay outdoors and create memories. You can take advantage of this by organizing a social media photo contest and creating a category that inclines with the vision of your business. You can also use this opportunity to have your social media feed filled with the summer vibes of your customers and their bright smiles and sunny outdoors. Not only is this good PR, but it also encourages loyalty among your old customers. You will aim for a higher engagement and offer attractive prices and discounts for the participants and winners.
Debbie Meeuws, Nature’s Arc Organic
Automate and Delegate as a Preemptive Measure
Anticipate which areas of the business will have more pressure from the higher volume so you can reallocate the workforce to get all hands on deck. Preemptively automating and delegating components of the business allows you to focus on the urgent and important, like customer needs and mission-critical operations. Examples of what can be automated include pre-writing and scheduling out social media posts and email sequences.
Delegating tasks that are still necessary but can be handled by a service provider or contractor include maintenance, deliveries, and data entry to name a few. By bringing in temporary support behind the scenes, redistributing work to non-peak times, and scheduling marketing in advance, your team can focus on meeting front-line needs during the busier times of the year.
Marilyn Zubak, Snif
Learn From The Previous Summer
Look back at last summer. The best way to prepare for the busy summer season is to reflect on your business last summer and make appropriate and specific preparations. Look at what you’ll need, look at where you fell short, where you were overstocked, and what possible missed opportunities you want to incorporate this year. Reflecting on your business’s summer season the previous year and preparing accordingly allows you to adjust strategically and not waste time and money unnecessarily.
Karim Hachem, Sunshine79
Leverage Employee Referrals for Quick Talent Recruiting
If you are busy over the summer season, you should stay on top of your recruitment strategic plan. The recruitment and hiring process can be long and demanding, requiring that you start planning early. An effective way to acquire quality candidates in a short time is through incentivized employee referrals. No one understands the roles you are hiring for better than the people already working at your organization. These are your biggest brand advocates and can be an excellent source of top talent for a busy summer season, therefore setting you ahead of the competition.
Mike Moran, Green Lion Search
Engage Your Customers Online
Customers do a lot of online research, and they tend to believe what they read in online reviews. They will believe a word of mouth or the number of stars over anything the business might say, even if those reviews are false. Their perception is their reality.
To prepare for a busy summer season, it’s important to interact and engage with those online customers who post questions or online reviews. If you don’t respond to or counter a statement, you might be unwillingly creating a negative customer service experience. So, it’s essential to turn that perception around in time for your busy summer season. You want to ensure that if people do online research about your business, they see positive feedback. Interacting and engaging with your customers will show them that you care and that your online presence is a positive one.
Georgi Todorov, ThriveMyWay